Herpes, caused by either Herpes simplex 1 or Herpes simplex 2, may cause sores around the mouth or genitals. Those affected by genital herpes may experience burning, itching and inflammation around the affected area. Cold sores may cause swelling, redness and other symptoms around the mouth and lips.

Know the Risks

About one in every four or five adults and adolescents is infected by herpes. Herpes may be spread by kissing, sharing forks, spoons, razors, cups, etc. and by touching the saliva of an infected person. Genital herpes may be spread by sexual intercourse with an infected person, as well as oral and anal sex. Herpes may also be spread from mother to child during child birth if the mother has an active herpes infection. Herpes simplex 1 usually causes cold sores, while Herpes simplex 2 usually causes genital herpes. However, both viruses may cause both cold sores and genital herpes.

Avoiding Certain Activities

Avoid sharing eating utensils, cups and other personal items with infected people. Also avoid kissing or touching the saliva of infected people to prevent herpes. Avoid sexual contact with people infected with herpes. Ask your sexual partners if they have herpes or any other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Of course, not everybody is willing to admit to sexual partners that they have STDs, so always practicing safe sex is also important. For more tips for preventing herpes, speak with a licensed physician.